Pastor helps church member during diabetes crisis

Pattison, TX – The pastor of Pattison United Methodist Church recently saved a member of her congregation who was in the middle of a diabetic emergency.

The church is about 10 to 20 miles from an urgent or emergent medical care.

So, when pastor Mireya Martinez heard the beeping of a glucose monitor, she knew she could take matters into her own hands.

“We’re in the middle of this opening hymn and above everybody’s singing. I hear this alarm go off, and I thought it was me so I took out my phone and looked, opened up my app for the glucose reading, and saw that I was fine,” Martinez explained.

Martinez said she’s transparent with everyone around her that she has diabetes. She knew one other member of her congregation also has it.

“From where I was standing, I just looked over at him and his wife and just waited for his wife to look up,” Martinez said.

Through the singing of the church service, the member’s wife and Martinez made hand gestures to signal to each other that the man was not doing well. His insulin was dropping to dangerous levels and he was disoriented.

Martinez was prepared. She keeps a stash of candy and glucose tablets in her pulpit.

“I grabbed a juice box, and I grabbed some candy (and all this while the song is still going on). So I just kind of walk over there and hand her everything,” Martinez said.

According to endocrinologist Dr. Rocio Harbison, the pastor did everything right.

Harbison said if your blood sugar is low, “four ounces of glucose is the recommendation, four ounces of juice, a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of honey, some ice cream [or] whatever they have available at that time.”

She said it’s best to start with candy and then wait about fifteen minutes to see if the blood sugar improves before ingesting more.

High blood sugar may be helped with water and a walk.

“Most of the time when sugars are significantly elevated, we’re talking about insulin and if they’re not able to control the glucose on their own... they may need to seek help or go to the emergency room,” Harbison said.

Most importantly, Harbison said technology (like a glucose monitor that Martinez wears) can signal that you need help before you get to that point of having an episode.

“I don’t want anything I experience to be a wasted experience. I think we go through things to learn from them, to be better but also help people on the journey as well,” Martinez said. “It really made my day when this lady and her husband you know, know that they can come to me, they know that I have something that could help.”